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Durzi likely to be picked in 2018 Draft after being passed over last year

Owen Sound defenseman among those hoping to hear name called after not being selected in 2017

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

First-year NHL Draft-eligible prospects aren't the only players hoping to hear their names at some point during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 22-23.

There are several notable players who were passed over in the 2017 NHL Draft looking for another opportunity.

"It's one of those things where some players mature at different times and their game comes into shape at different times," NHL Central Scouting senior manager David Gregory said. "That's been the case for a number of players this year so there's a chance they'll get drafted."

Defenseman Sean Durzi of Owen Sound in the Ontario Hockey League is at the top of the list of players expected to be chosen this year after being passed over in 2017.

"I had the belief I would be drafted last year but you can't expect anything, so I came out this season fairly motivated but used that energy the right way," Durzi, 19, said. "There's no time to feel sorry for yourself."

Durzi (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) was eighth among OHL defensemen with 49 points and fifth with 15 goals. He was limited to 40 games because of an ankle injury, but still had his best offensive season in his third in the league.

Video: Woodlief on the top prospects in the 2018 NHL Draft

He is No. 37 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters; he was No. 124 on Central Scouting's final list for 2017. He attended rookie camp for the New York Islanders last summer and wasn't offered a contract but said it was a tremendous experience.

"I can't tell you why 31 teams overlooked him through seven rounds of the draft last year but I know they won't do it this year," Central Scouting's Karl Stewart said.

Durzi began to flourish late last season when given a more prominent role with Owen Sound. He carried that success into this season, and scouts have taken notice.

"He'll go fairly high," Gregory said. "He played at an elite level and scored more this year. He's a player you notice every shift. He has all the qualities of a puck-moving, skilled defenseman at the next level.

"Knowing his body of work now, teams aren't going to let him slide."

Here are seven other players passed over in 2017 who could be drafted in 2018 (in alphabetical order):

 

Mac Hollowell, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

Hollowell (5-9, 170), a right-shot defenseman, is No. 118 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters; he wasn't among the 217 North American skaters in their final ranking last year. The 19-year-old had 56 points (12 goals, 44 assists) and a plus-39 rating in 63 games this season, his third full OHL season.

 

Joey Keane, D, Barrie (OHL)

Keane (6-0, 180), a right-shot defenseman, had 44 points (12 goals, 32 assists) in 62 games, and his plus-45 rating led OHL defensemen. Keane, 18, was a C-rated player in September and was No. 111 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. He was not on the final ranking of North American skaters last year.

 

Albert Michnac, LW, Mississauga (OHL)

Michnac (6-0, 180), from Prague, Czech Republic, had 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in his second full OHL season. Michnac, 19, is No. 151 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. He is regarded as a solid skater and playmaker with good vision. He was unranked by Central Scouting last year.

 

Jared Moe, G, Waterloo (USHL)

Moe (6-3, 205) has very good pro potential after steady improvement the past two seasons. He was 23-6-1 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 32 games for Waterloo this season after spending the two previous seasons at Holy Family Catholic High School in Minnesota. Moe, 18, is No. 10 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies; he was No. 26 on the list last year. He'll play at the University of Minnesota in 2019-20.

"He has excellent butterfly style and coverage," Central Scouting's Al Jensen said. "He's very efficient and quick in his lateral ability with very good feet. He's got excellent post-to-post play and a good glove hand. His good work habits will help him adapt quickly at the higher levels."

 

Scott Perunovich, D, Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC)

Perunovich, a 19-year-old left-shot defenseman (5-9, 172), was passed over in the previous two drafts, but he capped a memorable first season with the University of Minnesota-Duluth by helping the school win the NCAA championship. He led Minnesota-Duluth with 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) and a plus-22 rating in 42 games, and won a bronze medal playing for the United States at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

He's No. 102 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters; he was unranked last year but was No. 101 for the 2016 NHL Draft.

"He's undersized but so smart, elusive and hard to hit," Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen said. "He's a solid puck mover and terrific on the power play. He didn't put up a lot of points in the USHL with Cedar Rapids in 2016-17 (21 in 56 games), but improved his defending skills. That helped his transition to the NCAA."

 

Pavel Shen, C, Khanty-Mansiysk 2 (RUS-JR)

Shen (6-1, 183), No. 32 in Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, is a left-shot forward who was No. 22 on the list last year. He had 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 29 regular-season games, and five points (three goals, two assists) in eight playoff games in Russia's junior league. A swift and mobile skater, Shen, 18, also scored two goals in 29 games with Khanty-Mansiysk in the Kontinental Hockey League.

 

Jerry Turkulainen, LW, JYP (FIN)

If the Finland-born right-shot forward was three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier, he might be projected as a second-round pick in the draft. Turkulainen (5-7, 147) is No. 61 in Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters. The 19-year-old had 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) and a plus-18 rating in 52 games in his second season in Liiga, Finland's top pro league. Last season he had 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 48 games and was No. 117 on Central Scouting's list.

"He's fun to watch, full of skills and energy," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb said. "He has good speed for the NHL, but the only problem is his size."

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